Someone named "Ellie Light" has written virtually the same pro-Obama letter-to-the-editor email to a growing number of newspapers across the country. Coincidence? Perhaps. Except that each "Ellie" has a local address in each newspaper's circulation area. Here's something from the normally incurious Cleveland Plain Dealer's online locale:
Variations of Light’s letter ran in Ohio’s Mansfield News Journal on Jan. 13, with Light claiming an address in Mansfield; in New Mexico’s Ruidoso News on Jan. 12, claiming an address in Three Rivers; in South Carolina’s The Sun News on Jan. 18, claiming an address in Myrtle Beach; and in the Daily News Leader of Staunton, Virginia on Jan. 15, claiming an address in Waynesboro. Her publications list includes other papers in Ohio, West Virginia, Maine, Michigan, Iowa, Pennsylvania and California, all claiming separate addresses.It took awhile to discover this, I surmise, because many newspapers no longer crosscheck such letters, email or otherwise. Nor do they insist on a working telephone number for verification. That's what happens when you have too many layoffs in the newsroom--but that's another blog topic.
The PD's Sabrina Eaton's got game, though, and knows the old rules of the journalistic road. She attempted several times to get "Light" to come clean on all the addresses. Each response was evasive and then responses stopped.
Politico's Ben Smith noticed the PD post and picked up on it, since he too had received an email from "Light":
It was one of several such e-mails I'd gotten from a Yahoo account under that name, and the author didn't respond to a request for more information. That which didn't really bother me — the author wasn't making any factual claims, or personal ones, just an argument.Smith doesn't shed further light on "Light," but was clearly irritated to discover, via the PD post, what was obviously a clever mass-email, slightly re-worded and carefully re-addressed each time to obscure the nature of its author. And said author, in turn, is at best a pseudonym, at worst a sock puppet--perhaps even an Administration minion--trying to spread online astroturf to support a President badly battered this week by gaffes ranging from Massachusetts Miscues to Wall Street-destroying Bank Bashing. Interestingly, Smith notes:
A reader points out that "Ellie" is said to be a derivative of the Greek word for "light."Hmm. More scurrilous propaganda, straight out of the Alinsky Playbook*? We shall see. Let there be "light."
UPDATE: Ed Driscoll adds even more newspapers to the growing list of Ellie Light astroturf recipients:
With the help of my commenters, I have been keeping a running total at my blog of the places where Light’s letter has appeared. At last count, her letter has appeared in at least 42 newspapers in at least 20 different states.More here in Hot Air. Including pithy comments.
(BTW, for those curious to learn more about how propagandistic language works, see my note below. Others can skip.)
*Rules for Radicals: A Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Radicals (1971) Random House, ISBN 0-394-44341-1, Vintage books paperback: ISBN 0-679-72113-4. Interestingly, although Alinsky is clearly Marxist-Stalinist-Gramsci-ite in his thinking, his carefully edited Wikipedia entry describes him this way: 'He is generally considered to be the founder of modern community organizing and has been compared to Thomas Paine as "one of the great American leaders of the nonsocialist left.'"
Don't always buy in to the wikis. Ghostly editors lurk in every corner. Parse this clever sentence from the entry above. "Generally considered." By whom? "Nonsocialist left"? Technically correct. Because Alinsky was an old-style Commie. Nice bit of editing. Gotta watch these people. Also duly note: the late, Chicago-based Alinsky founded modern "community organizing." And who's currently the nation's Community Organizer in Chief? Yep, Alinsky-trained (via Bill Ayers) Barack Obama, our current POTUS. "Community Organizer" is Marxist code for "Left-wing community agitator," aka "activist," the preferred media term for pretty much the same creature in full propaganda mode.